A cross-sectional study of Victorian mobile intensive care ambulance paramedics knowledge of the Valsalva manoeuvre

The Valsalva Manoeuvre (VM) is a primary measure for terminating haemodynamically stable supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) in the emergency care setting. The clinical use and termination success of the VM in the prehospital setting has not been investigated to date.

The objective of this study was to determine Melbourne Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Paramedic knowledge of the VM, and to compare this understanding with an evidence-based model of VM performance.

Methods: A cross-sectional study in the form of a face-to-face interview was used to determine Melbourne MICA Paramedic understanding of VM instruction between January and February, 2008. The results were then compared with an evidence-based model of VM performance to ascertain compliance with the three criteria of position, pressure and duration.

Ethics approval was granted.

Results: There were 28 participants (60.9%) who elected a form of supine posturing, some 23 participants (50%) selected the syringe method of pressure generation, with 16 participants (34.8%) selecting the "as long as you can"option for duration. On comparison, one out of 46 MICA Paramedics correctly identified the three evidence-based criteria.

Conclusions: The formal education of Melbourne's MICA Paramedics would benefit from the introduction of an evidence based model of VM performance, which would impact positively on patient care and may improve reversion success in the prehospital setting..

The results of this study also demonstrate that an opportunity exists to promote the evidence-based VM criteria across the primary emergency care field.

Published on: 2009-12-15

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